Improving farmer-to-market linkages
Changing farmers’ mindsets from “Selling what I produce” to “Producing what I can sell” can double incomes and improve livelihoods in India.
Lack of access to market hubs means farmers are unable to bargain with traders on prices for their fresh produce. In most cases a single small-scale farmer can’t produce to attract traders. But, if farmers work together, they can aggregate their produce and compete effectively with larger suppliers.
With the aim of linking Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) with markets, on 23 April 2019 staff from the JOHAR Project (Jharkhand Opportunities for Harnessing Rural Growth) hosted a “Buyers & Sellers Meet” with vegetable producers and prominent terminal market buyers in Ranchi, Jharkhand, India. The meet was organized through the Jharkhand State Livelihood Promotion Society and facilitated by World Vegetable Center and Synergy Technofin.
Prominent terminal buyers working in Jharkhand include Reliance Retail, Big Bazaar, Big Basket, Spencers, Mother Dairy, Jubillient Food Works, Future Retail, Nature’s Cart, Samunnathi Agro Solutions, and SNPAgro. Representatives from each retail company shared their views on crop preference, quantities of procurement, the need for postharvest measures such as sorting and grading, logistics, and modes of payment.
In turn, the farmer groups explained the number of groups in operation and the crops and areas of cultivation within their purview. Farmers were familiar with the quality grades buyers expect, and were well aware of the higher prices buyers are willing to pay for premium crops.
The Buyers & Sellers Meet enticed the FPCs to carefully consider shifting their focus to emphasize quality production. JOHAR project participants learned how farmers could double their income and improve their livelihoods by exploiting market opportunities in which they compete on their skills and quality of product, rather than just taking the lowest price. It’s a change of mindset: from “Selling what I produce” to “Producing what I can sell.”
The JOHAR Project aims to enhance and diversify household income in select farm and non‐farm sectors for targeted beneficiaries in project areas of Jharkhand. The World Vegetable Center provides primary technical support for the JOHAR Project, focusing on training and demonstrations for JOHAR and implementing agency staff, who then go on to train farmers in improved vegetable production practices. The project is funded by the World Bank.
Story and photos: Abhilash Miriyappalli and Praveen Amarlapudi
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